While critically acclaimed, they were not commercial successes at the time, in spite of the quality of the material. Gary Wright, former keyboardist/songwriter/vocalist for Spooky Tooth, released these two fine albums in succession after the initial breakup of the band, with `Extraction' coming out in 1971 and `Footprint' the next year. They now get a second chance, and fans of great rock music have reason to rejoice.
Wright formed a touring band in the wake of Spooky Tooth's demise, calling it `Wright's Wonderwheel' (which featured, among others, future Tooth and Foreigner guitarist Mick Jones). Most of that band played on 'Extraction', although the name Wonderwheel was not credited (however,they did release a single called 'I Know', and recorded an unreleased album). `Extraction' differed markedly from the trademark Spooky Tooth sound; the songs were generally more up-tempo, with more focus on lead guitar than the heavy organ sound of his previous band. In addition, the production was very bright and clean, with individual instruments very discreet and well separated.
It was sonically impressive on vinyl back then , and remains even more so on CD today. Featuring some truly outstanding songs such as Get on the Right Road, I Know a Place, Too Late to Cry and his own, more rocking version of The Wrong Time, which was also covered on the Wright-less Spooky Tooth Album `The Last Puff'. To me, this and `Footprint' feature Gary's most powerful vocal performances, largely devoid of the falsetto often used in Spooky Tooth recordings.
`Footprint' is a real joy to have. `Extraction' was actually released the previous year on the Repertoire label, but until this two-for set, `Footprint' was something of the Holy Grail of Spooky Tooth related material still unavailable. While `Extraction' had minimal production gloss, with somewhat sparse instrumentation and a generally `hard rock' feel, `Footprint' went a different direction.
Continuing with top-flight songs, superb vocals and lyrics that showed the emerging spiritualistic side of Gary, the recording featured many guest musicians, including George Harrison (under a pseudonym), Bobby Keys, Alan White, Jim Gordon and others. It was a more textured album in production values, with shimmering acoustic guitars augmenting the keyboards and electric instruments, more pensive lyrics and a kind of loose, thematic unity to the album not found on `Extraction'.
This theme is represented in such titles as Give Me the Good Earth, Love to Survive, Fascinating Things and the anthem-like Stand for Our Rights, which featured what may have been the last sax performance from King Curtis before his untimely death. To this day, hearing that song makes me want to jump up with a clenched fist and start marching. A more powerful affirmation to the cause of personal freedom would be hard to find.
While these masterpieces should, by all rights, have been released long before now, the fact that they are now available is great news to fans of not only Spooky Tooth and progeny, but to fans of superb late 60s, early 70s rock music everywhere. Frequent and repeated listenings guaranteed!.
by Dennis Hawley
1. Get on the Right Road - 3:33
2. Get Hold of Yourself - 3:11
3. Sing a Song - 3:14
4. We Try Hard - 2:28
5. I Know a Place - 5:04
6. The Wrong Time (McCracken, Wright) - 3:24
7. Over You Now - 3:47
8. Too Late to Cry - 3:52
9. I've Got a Story (McCracken, Wright) - 5:29
10.Give Me the Good Earth - 3:17
11.Two Faced Man - 3:38
12.Love to Survive - 4:24
13.Whether It's Right or Wrong - 5:09
14.Stand for Our Rights - 3:33
15.Fascinating Things - 5:07
16.Forgotten - 4:05
17.If You Treat Someone Right - 4:00
All compositions by Gary Wright except where indicated.
*Gary Wright - Vocals, Keyboards
*Colin Allen - Drums, Percussion
*P.P. Arnold - Vocals
*John Barham - String Arrangements
*Madeline Bell - Vocals
*Jerry Donahue - Guitar
*Jim Gordon - Drums, Percussion
*Jim Keltner - Drums, Percussion
*Bobby Keys - Tenor Sax
*King Curtis - Saxophone
*Hugh McCracken - Guitar
*George O'Hara - Guitar, Slide Guitar
*Barry St. John - Vocals
*Liza Strike - Vocals
*Doris Troy - Vocals
*Klaus Voormann - Bass
*Alan White - Drums
*Mick Abrahams - Guitar